2006 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

Vintage 2006 certainly has everyone offering up grand descriptions! “Everything ripened beautifully.” “This is a rarity.” “A warm, fully ripe vintage.” Fruit set was ideal with a mild Spring. Months that followed were warm and dry, with short-lived heat spikes and a few intermittent cooling rains in the fall, advancing fruit ripeness. Feelings abound in the valley that the 2006 vintage seems to be a combination of the 1999’s depth and the ripeness of 2003 (the only vintage warmer than 2006), but with better flavors and natural balance. The Pinot Noirs specifically seem to be very true to form with velvety tannins and a sexiness evocative of Pinot’s feminine side. Put this with softer, darker blue fruits that are more generous and it’s the makings of exceptional wines! In general, this vintage had us searching for negatives, finding only the six days of over 86 degrees in early harvest to fret over. But the results seem to be close to perfect!

Steep hillside farming, high quality plant material, low yields, and hand-harvesting all contribute to the quality of Elk Cove’s estate-owned vineyards.  We do around 12 passes per year of contact with each vine including multiple rounds of thinning to ensure perfectly ripe fruit from our cool climate.

Our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is made with fruit from all five of our vineyard sites: Estate, Mount Richmond, Five Mountain, Clay Court and Wind Hill.  We also purchase a small amount of select fruit from other producers who are longtime friends of Elk Cove. These sites are comprised of both Pommard and Dijon plant material, with multiple clones represented.

Because we draw from multiple vineyards representing all three of the major Willamette Valley soil types, we are able to pick and choose for different flavor components to make the best possible blend each year for our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.  Some people call this making wine “spice rack style”, we usually just call it delicious.  Our goal is the perfect version of what we believe a Willamette Valley Pinot should be, a wine with freshness of fruit, well-integrated alcohol, and great concentration of flavor.

All of Elk Cove’s delicate Pinot Noir fruit undergoes the same gentle handling through our gravity flow system. This systems allows us to achieve the elegance, texture and luscious quality that are the hallmarks of exquisite Pinot Noir.

To make our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, fruit from each vineyard block is fermented separately in small, temperature controlled steel tanks, hand punched down twice daily, and barreled in 20% new french oak barrels. After 10 months of aging in 20% new oak, the wine we choose for the Willamette Valley Pinot is carefully blended to produce the most approachable, well-balanced Pinot Noir we make.

  • Vine Age 5-33 years
  • Yield 2 tons/acre
  • Harvest Sugars 24.3-25.9 Brix
  • pH 3.73
  • Vatting Fermentation in small open top steel fermenters. 10 months in French oak.
  • Cases Produced 16,500

2006 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

Vintage

Vintage 2006 certainly has everyone offering up grand descriptions! “Everything ripened beautifully.” “This is a rarity.” “A warm, fully ripe vintage.” Fruit set was ideal with a mild Spring. Months that followed were warm and dry, with short-lived heat spikes and a few intermittent cooling rains in the fall, advancing fruit ripeness. Feelings abound in the valley that the 2006 vintage seems to be a combination of the 1999’s depth and the ripeness of 2003 (the only vintage warmer than 2006), but with better flavors and natural balance. The Pinot Noirs specifically seem to be very true to form with velvety tannins and a sexiness evocative of Pinot’s feminine side. Put this with softer, darker blue fruits that are more generous and it’s the makings of exceptional wines! In general, this vintage had us searching for negatives, finding only the six days of over 86 degrees in early harvest to fret over. But the results seem to be close to perfect!

Vineyard

Steep hillside farming, high quality plant material, low yields, and hand-harvesting all contribute to the quality of Elk Cove’s estate-owned vineyards.  We do around 12 passes per year of contact with each vine including multiple rounds of thinning to ensure perfectly ripe fruit from our cool climate.

Our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is made with fruit from all five of our vineyard sites: Estate, Mount Richmond, Five Mountain, Clay Court and Wind Hill.  We also purchase a small amount of select fruit from other producers who are longtime friends of Elk Cove. These sites are comprised of both Pommard and Dijon plant material, with multiple clones represented.

Because we draw from multiple vineyards representing all three of the major Willamette Valley soil types, we are able to pick and choose for different flavor components to make the best possible blend each year for our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.  Some people call this making wine “spice rack style”, we usually just call it delicious.  Our goal is the perfect version of what we believe a Willamette Valley Pinot should be, a wine with freshness of fruit, well-integrated alcohol, and great concentration of flavor.

Winemaking

All of Elk Cove’s delicate Pinot Noir fruit undergoes the same gentle handling through our gravity flow system. This systems allows us to achieve the elegance, texture and luscious quality that are the hallmarks of exquisite Pinot Noir.

To make our Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, fruit from each vineyard block is fermented separately in small, temperature controlled steel tanks, hand punched down twice daily, and barreled in 20% new french oak barrels. After 10 months of aging in 20% new oak, the wine we choose for the Willamette Valley Pinot is carefully blended to produce the most approachable, well-balanced Pinot Noir we make.

Viticultural & Enological Data
  • Vine Age 5-33 years
  • Yield 2 tons/acre
  • Harvest Sugars 24.3-25.9 Brix
  • pH 3.73
  • Vatting Fermentation in small open top steel fermenters. 10 months in French oak.
  • Cases Produced 16,500

Accolades

Pinot Report

93 Points: “…silky texture, toasty oak, …good structure and balance; long finish…”
Pinot Report (February 15, 2008)

Wine Spectator

89 Points. “Ripe and focused, with black currant and blackberry flavors…”
Wine Spectator (September 30, 2008)

Wine Press Northwest

Outstanding! “…It’s smooth and elegant from the entry to the finish and possesses great structure throughout.”
Wine Press Northwest (April 1, 2008)

Wine Enthusiast

90 Points “This opens right up into a lovely, expressive nose laden with cherry blossom, plum, vanilla, and butterscotch…”
Wine Enthusiast (July 1, 2008)

Wine & Spirits

91 Points “Richly ripe when first poured, this gathers focus with air…”
Wine & Spirits (April 30, 2008)